Malfunctioning machines delay voting for Binays in Makati

MANILA, Philippines – The members of the Binay clan encountered a road bump in their respective polling precincts after vote-counting machines (VCMs) refused to accept ballots on Monday morning, May 13.

The family patriarch and former vice president Jejomar Binay was the first family member to vote at the San Antonio National High School in Makati. But he got visibly angry after the VCM in his precinct refused to accept his ballot even if he had tried to insert it 8 times. 

This forced the longtime Makati mayor to proceed to the main office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to complain about his rejected ballot. (READ: Defective machine at Grace Poe's precinct bogs down voting) 

Local polling officers later replaced the faulty VCM while Binay was at the Comelec. He returned to his precinct and was finally able to vote past 11 am, after nearly 3 hours. 

REJECTED. Ex-vice president Jejomar Binay tries to load his ballot into the vote-counting machine at San Antonio National High School on May 13, 2019. Photo by Jay Ganzon/Rappler

REJECTED. Ex-vice president Jejomar Binay tries to load his ballot into the vote-counting machine at San Antonio National High School on May 13, 2019.

Photo by Jay Ganzon/Rappler

His children – Makati mayoral candidate Junjun Binay and reelectionist Senator Nancy Binay – were both originally scheduled to vote at 8 am. But because they have the same polling precinct as their father's, the Binay siblings were able to vote only past 12 pm.

They were joined by their mother Elenita, former Makati mayor, and their sister Anne, both of whom are supporting Junjun's mayoral bid. 

Junjun is going head-to-head with his older sister, reelectionist Mayor Abby Binay, who had to wait for an hour before she was able to vote at her precinct inside San Jose Elementary School.

The VCM in Abby's precinct also stopped accepting ballots at 8:35 am, causing the line of voters to extend longer than usual. 

While waiting for the replacement VCM, polling officers made residents shade their ballots first, then told them they would keep the documents for safekeeping until a new VCM arrives. When it did arrive at 10:15 am, Makati residents were able to vote smoothly. 

'Too premature' for concern

ALL SMILES. Reelectionist Makati City Mayor Abby Binay is all smiles as she feeds her ballot into the vote-counting machine. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

ALL SMILES. Reelectionist Makati City Mayor Abby Binay is all smiles as she feeds her ballot into the vote-counting machine.

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

But Abby, who voted together with her husband, reelectionist Makati City 2nd District Representative Luis Campos, is not too concerned about the faulty VCMs.

"Unang-una, wala pa naman tayong kalahating araw na nangyari. Usually naman ang problema talaga 'pag umaga kasi doon nakikita 'yung mga glitches sa machine. But I think it's rather premature to say that the integrity of the elections will be very questionable," said Abby.

(Firstly, we haven't even reached half of the day yet. Usually the problems happen in the morning because that's when the glitches of the machines crop up. But I think it's rather premature to say that the integrity of the elections will be very questionable.)

Junjun, however, said it is unacceptable that the VCMs are malfunctioning on election day.

"If there's a breakdown in the machine, then there's human intervention that's going to happen, which we want to avoid 'di ba? But I'll give credit to Comelec dahil mabilis naman silang umaaksyon. But then, this is not acceptable. Kailangan, 'pag nilatag natin 'yung makina eh siguraduhin natin na walang aberya," said Junjun. 

(If there's a breakdown in the machine, then there's human intervention that's going to happen, which we want to avoid, right? But I'll give credit to the Comelec because they were able to respond quickly. But then, this is not acceptable. When the machines are installed, they have to ensure there won't be any issues anymore.) 

In the 2016 elections, technology provider Smartmatic said around 188 VCMs had to be replaced. – Rappler.com

Follow Rappler's full coverage of the 2019 Philippine elections here.

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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